Understanding voice in the disciplines: The struggles of Latina non -traditional students and their instructors

2008 2008

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Abstract (summary)

For years, university faculty has complained that students come to the university unprepared to meet the demands of their content courses. In particular, they complain that students do not know how to cite or how to quote the work of others. To help students, university and content faculty have taken a series of measures which include creating a series of junior and academic writing courses, developing academic honesty policies and bringing APA or MLA handouts to class, and including in their syllabi academic honesty policies. All these measures come from a view of writing as a set of rules that can be applied across contexts, situations, and audiences. Given that students continue to struggle with issues of voice in their academic writing, it is important to review these views and practices and find other ways to help students. In the past 40 years, genre and SFL scholars have been arguing for a more situated view of writing in which writing is a social practice that varies from one context to another and from one discourse community to another. Drawing on these theories, this study explores how content faculty can more effectively help students in general, and ESL nontraditional students in particular, develop their disciplinary voices. This study examines the difficulties that a group of undergraduate Latina nontraditional students encountered while adopting a disciplinary voice and incorporating the voices of others in their texts, including the reasons for these difficulties and faculty support received. Ethnographic, Critical Language Awareness, and Systemic Functional Linguistics methods of data collection and analysis were used to explore these issues. Findings suggest that to effectively help ESL students respond to the different writing and voice demands of their disciplinary courses, content faculty need to work collaboratively with students and college ESL and writing instructors in adopting and presenting a more dynamic view of writing and voice. In this dynamic view, students are not required to memorize rules for attribution of voice applicable across disciplines, but to analyze the situation and the audience before deciding what voices to use and how to use them.

Indexing (details)

Womens studies;
Teacher education;
Hispanic Americans;
Higher education
0453: Womens studies
0530: Teacher education
0681: Rhetoric
0681: Composition
0727: Curricula
0727: Teaching
0737: Hispanic Americans
0745: Higher education
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Education; Language, literature and linguistics; ESL students; ESL writing; English as a second language; Instructors; Latina; Nontraditional students; Teacher education; Voice; Writing
Understanding voice in the disciplines: The struggles of Latina non -traditional students and their instructors
Correa, Doris M.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 69/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Willett, Jerri
Committee member
Gebhard, Meg; LeCourt, Donna
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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